In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have been rushing to stock up on essentials like canned foods, hand sanitizers and antibacterial cleaning products. However, the daily essential with perhaps the most unexpected rise in demand is toilet paper. The demand has become so high that many stores are limiting the number of rolls each customer can purchase.
The shortage of toilet paper has led some Americans to turn to a device that has long been popular in other areas of the world — the bidet.
For those unfamiliar, a bidet comes in many forms, though it’s traditionally a standalone sink-like basin with a spray function that’s used for cleaning after using the toilet. Though it’s a foreign concept to many in the United States, it’s one that experts approve of for excellent hygiene.
“As a gastroenterologist, I’m a big fan of bidets,” Roshini Raj, attending gastroenterologist at NYU Langone Health, told Shop TODAY. “They offer a gentler way to clean ourselves and are particularly helpful for new moms, or those with rectal issues like hemorrhoids or anal fissures.”
Dr. Philip Buffington told us that bidets are hands-down his favorite cleaning method.
“In the bidet versus toilet paper matchup, the nod goes to the bidet. Bidets are healthier than toilet paper. They provide better personal hygiene,” he said.
So what do you do when you want to explore the world of bidets without investing in a full-sized model? That’s where an add-on bidet comes in handy. It’s essentially an attachment that connects to your existing toilet seat, and they’ve become massively popular in the last two weeks as toilet paper becomes more difficult to come by.
Tushy is one of the most popular bidet attachment manufacturers, and the brand’s founder and chief creative officer Mike Agrawal told Shop TODAY that sales have skyrocketed in the past week.
“Tushy sales are 10 times what they were since word spread of toilet paper shortages,” Agrawal told us. “Last week we had a few days where we sold over $500,000 a day, including a day where we hit around $1 million in sales. We have been saying since 2014 that bidets will replace toilet paper and that Tushy was going to be the brand to help realize it.”
Tushy Classic Bidet
Brondell is another leader in the bidet world, and the brand says that it has also seen about 10 times more orders than usual.
“The transactions we’ve completed in just the last few days have dwarfed even our biggest sales holidays such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, even during our best years,” Brondell’s president Steve Scheer said in a press release provided to Shop TODAY. “This is truly unprecedented, but we’re happy to be able to provide the public with these toilet paper alternatives and are doing our best to make sure we’re able to fulfill as many orders as possible.”
Brondell S1000 EW-Swash 1000 Advanced Bidet
Brondell S1000-EW Swash 1000 Advanced Bidet
Of course, with increased demand comes increased production, which Scheer says is a challenge the brand is working diligently to tackle.
“Our warehouse bandwidth and logistics are currently stretched to max capacity, and delivery times may take a bit longer in the short term, but we are ordering more product every day and meeting this challenge head-on,” Scheer said.
Tushy and Brondell are relatively big names in the world of bidets, but the recent trend has also created a spike in sales for smaller up-and-comers.
Zack Levinson, founder of the Indiegogo-funded portable bidet brand Sonny, told us he’s also seen increased sales and interest in his new product that ships in April.
“The toilet paper hoarding absurdity has encouraged people, Americans in particular, to start embracing the bidet as an alternative solution in the bathroom,” Levinson told us. “We’ve been working on perfecting our product for the last two years and will start shipping orders over the next few months.”
Even specialty devices have seen renewed interest, such as the MomWasher by Frida Mom — a portable bidet designed with postpartum care in mind. A representative for the brand told Shop TODAY that they’ve had five times the number of orders in the past week.
Frida Mom MomWasher
Frida Mom MomWasher
So is the rise of the bidet merely a fad for Americans, or will it become the new norm? If their experience is anything like Raj’s, it might become a permanent bathroom staple.
“I spent my summers as a child in Asia and became very used to using them,” Raj told us. “Once you try them, you wonder why anyone would do anything else.”